DJ Tim Westwood has resigned from his show on Capital Xtra until further notice, according to the station’s parent company, after allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him by several women.
It came just over 24 hours after the former BBC Radio 1 DJ was accused by seven women of abusing his position in the music industry to profit from it, after a joint investigation by the Guardian and from BBC News.
At least three venues have canceled the DJ’s appearances since the allegations, while the BBC chief called them ‘shocking and appalling’ and urged anyone with evidence of wrongdoing to come forward, promising that any complaints would be taken seriously.
One of the women who told her story to The Guardian and the BBC said she was relieved. “Finally, people’s allegations are starting to be taken seriously,” she said.
The women, who are all black, decided to tell their stories following anonymous allegations of inappropriate behavior by Westwood circulating on social media in June 2020. In a statement at the time, Westwood denied any wrongdoing, claiming the online claims were fabricated. , false and baseless.
Three women have accused the DJ of opportunistic and predatory sexual behavior, while four others claim they were groped by him at events. The women were all in their late teens or early twenties when they say the incidents happened. The first alleged incident took place in 1992 and the most recent in 2017.
Westwood strenuously denied all allegations. A spokesperson said they were completely false and denied in their entirety. They said: “In a career that spans 40 years, no complaints have been filed against him, formally or informally. Tim Westwood strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing.
Global, the parent company of Capital Xtra, has confirmed that the station and the DJ are parting ways after nine years. A Global spokesperson said: “Following the claims that recently came to light, Tim Westwood has resigned from his show until further notice.”
BBC director-general Tim Davie called the allegations against Westwood, who was at the company for 20 years, “shocking” and “appalling”.
Davie, who was head of radio production at the BBC when Westwood was the voice of rap and hip-hop on Radio 1, said he had seen no evidence of complaints being made against the DJ at the BBC.
Davie said: ‘It is shocking and the testimony of women is powerful and appalling. Thanks to the BBC and Guardian teams for continuing the story.
When asked if the BBC had any official complaint records relating to Westwood, he replied: ‘I haven’t seen any evidence of any complaints. I asked and we looked at our records and saw no evidence.
“Every complaint should be taken seriously. If something comes up, we’ll investigate it thoroughly. If people have evidence where things haven’t been tracked or if they have concerns in this area, bring it to us…we’ll track everything and dig and dig and dig. If people have evidence of wrongdoing, we have to present it.
Davie said there was “nothing worse in life” than the abuse of power. “It’s about values, establishing the right culture and putting in place leaders. This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
Pamela*, one of the women who spoke to The Guardian and the BBC, criticized the BBC for granting DJ status and stardom – a position she believes he abused and which she says has permitted his behavior.
“He’s a big public figure, you’re just a small town girl,” she said. “Who are people going to believe?
She said she was disappointed but not surprised to hear criticism from women who told their stories to the Guardian and the BBC on social media. “I’ve read people say these women were just doing [this] to squeeze money out of someone who’s established themselves and wants attention – these people must have been last in their class at school.
Tamara*, who said she met the DJ in 1992 when she was 17 when she was a member of an R&B group, said that after Global’s “deafening silence” in the first 24 hours after as the allegations surfaced, she was thrilled with the company. and Westwood had separated.
“I think the allegations were too big and too deep in number to [the show] Continue. The idea of him regularly hosting his show on a Saturday night would have been totally appalling,” she said.
Three venues canceled Westwood’s scheduled appearances. The DJ was due to play Birmingham’s Rum Rum nightclub on May 1, but the event was cancelled, as was an appearance at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis and another event at Pitch Stratford.
British hip-hop pioneer Cookie Pryce, a former member of the Cookie Crew and now a music industry executive, said it was time to have a “fair and open” conversation about Westwood’s position in music and black culture. “Our culture, our music, our creativity, everything about us, has been appropriated for generations, and I just think people are very, very tired. They’re exhausted,” she said.
Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said no woman should have to be afraid to report an experience because she might not be believed. “But we know it’s a daily experience for black women and anyone who experiences racial discrimination in a justice system that’s so ill-stacked against [them],” she says.
*Names have been changed